What Did Marcel Duchamp Teach Today's Artists?

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 40 months ago
What Did Marcel Duchamp Teach Today's Artists?
Rob and Nick Carter's ever spinning Roulette wheel. Image courtesy the artist and Fine Art Society.
Rob and Nick Carter's ever spinning Roulette wheel. Image courtesy the artist and Fine Art Society.
Installation images, courtesy of The Fine Art Society, Photographed by Gina Soden
Installation images, courtesy of The Fine Art Society, Photographed by Gina Soden
Installation images, courtesy of The Fine Art Society, Photographed by Gina Soden
Installation images, courtesy of The Fine Art Society, Photographed by Gina Soden
Chris Levin's three dimensional image. Image courtesy the artist and Fine Art Society.
Chris Levin's three dimensional image. Image courtesy the artist and Fine Art Society.
Installation images, courtesy of The Fine Art Society, Photographed by Gina Soden
Installation images, courtesy of The Fine Art Society, Photographed by Gina Soden
Installation images, courtesy of The Fine Art Society, Photographed by Gina Soden
Installation images, courtesy of The Fine Art Society, Photographed by Gina Soden

Marcel Duchamp is often cited as revolutionising the art world; by placing a urinal in a gallery he made it possible for anything to be art and opened the doors for conceptual art to become part of the mainstream. But how has this change filtered down to artists working today and what is Duchamp's legacy?

The Fine Art Society is London's oldest gallery and is therefore the perfect setting for a sprawling exhibition of 50 artists across five floors. In homage to Duchamp, his quotes are on the gallery walls and each artist explains how Duchamp inspired them in the labelling next to their works.

Visitors have to sidestep a quirky kinetic piece by Nik Ramage that has been inspired by Duchamp's readymade sculptures constructed using bicycle parts. This sense of humour continues indoors with Rob and Nick Carter's roulette wheel that never stops and Oliver Clegg's broken chessboard.

Duchamp preached stripping art back to its bare minimum and challenging viewers to free their imaginations. This is evident in Ceal Floyer's black rubbish bag, Nancy Fouts' recreation of famous paintings with major characters missing and James Thurgood's works where the vast majority of it is obscured and viewers have to guess at the hidden scene using the border, which is the only visible part of the image.

The final piece is a work of sound art tailored to the gallery and its knowing humour will take visitors on a wonderful tour of the gallery revealing a secret shoe cupboard and even encouraging people to become a living artwork.

This mixture of work by well known and emerging artists is a highly entertaining exhibition that is a fitting tribute to Marcel Duchamp's legacy and how his work continues to inspire artists today.

What Marcel Duchamp taught me is on at The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond St, W1S 2JT until 5 November. Entrance to the gallery is free.

For more great art to see in London, visit our October listings.

Last Updated 15 October 2014